31 May 2009

RIP Dr Tiller

My heart is breaking for the family of Dr. Tiller right now. Here was a man who put the lives of women above the safety of himself. That is commendable. He did NOT just provide abortions to women who showed up 7 months pregnant and decided "yeah, I just didn't get around to it before". The women whom he helped were desperate; their babies had life-threatening illnesses, their pregnancies were a danger to their lives. He saved those women.

This was a Christian man. He was killed at church. (Seriously, does no one read Shakespeare anymore?) What kind of monster does one have to be to kill this man?

Right. A "pro-life" monster.

I don't give a flying fuck if you think he was killing babies, you don't kill him. If you think he was a mass murderer, you go through the proper channels. Vigilante justice is NEVER justified. I can understand it, of course. And I've engaged in it the odd time (I beat the crap out of someone who tried to rape my friend - wasn't right, but I did it). But murder? That's just proof those fuckers don't give a shit about life. They care about controlling women, and nothing more.

So that explains it!

All the conservatards are infected with a disease!

Dusty Rhodes. Best blogger/columnist ever. Go read. And go buy his books too.

obligatory disclaimer: I am not related to and have not personally met Dusty Rhodes. I just like his writing.

30 May 2009

Things that piss me off. Part 1 of Many

All right, I admit it, I occasionally eat at a food court. Not often, and only NYFries (because we have Celiac Disease and there is nothing else safe anywhere). So, the odd time, I buy the fries, and produce a bunch of unnecessary garbage. It makes me feel guilty, so I really should stop, but I have kids, and NOTHING is a better bribe reward than fast food fries. Not when said kids don't get to eat any other food I don't make. So we were at the Mayfair mall today, buying shoes for an upcoming wedding and we stopped in at the food court for some fries and a blueberry/blackberry Julius.

The food court was busy and pretty much full. What we found there was this picture. People leaving their litter on the table for the poor schmuck who makes 8 bucks an hour to pick up. For the love of chocolate, people, put your garbage in the garbage can! The overworked minimum wager doesn't need extra work. S/he has enough work keeping the floors clean and the tables wiped.

Luna says: Don't be an asshole. Put your shit in the garbage bins!

26 May 2009

Let the games begin

Sonia Sotomayor for the US Supreme Court. Wow. Not only a woman, but a Hispanic woman. Nice. She's a federal appeals judge in NYC. And the Republicans are already on the warpath. "Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee called Sotomayor’s appointment “the clearest indication yet that President Obama’s campaign promises to be a centrist and think in a bipartisan way were mere rhetoric. Sotomayor comes from the far left and will likely leave us with something akin to the "Extreme Court" that could mark a major shift”" But um, she was appointed by Republican George H.W. Bush in the first place. Oh, and he called her Maria Sotomayor; he couldn't even bother to get her first name right. So I'm thinking he has no clue. As usual.

25 May 2009

Stupid, liars, or both?

So we're in for a bigger deficit than originally forecast. Surprise! So, Greater East Wingnuttia, are the Harperites liars? Or merely stupid? Because it's one of the two. All the experts said Flaherty's budget was wishful thinking at best. So, either the Cons knew it too, or they're stupid.

gangs, drugs and cops

I'm in BC where gang activity is rather high. Not knowing wtf to do about it, the kids in some schools are asking police to help. And of course, the police cannot. They don't have the resources to be security guards in high schools.

So what do we do about gangs? Legalize drugs, for starters. Take the gangs out of the business.

After that? I have an idea, but I've not thought through the consequences. Help from the readership would be appreciated. What if we called gangs "terrorist groups"? Would that give the police more teeth for dealing with them? Or do they have plenty of power that is already being misused? Yay or nay. You tell me.

19 May 2009

Trading sex

Vancouver sex trade workers will be getting help dealing with the media during the 2010 Olimpdicks.

My first thought was "Are you fucking kidding me? They're telling the prostitutes what to say?!" And then I read the article. :)

I find it utterly appalling, and not the least bit surprising, that the media treat sex workers poorly. I mean, virtually everyone else does. And the media isn't exactly known for its compassionate, gentle nature.

I've been thinking about the problems of prostitution for a while, the indignity of it, the problems and their lack of solutions.

The options:
legalization - complete with taxation.
pros: provides prostitutes with protection under the law. Allows them to report rapes.
cons: doesn't discourage men from buying sex. doesn't do anything to stop the exploitation. may encourage human trafficking to areas in which prostitution is legal.

cracking down on prostitution:
pros: gets prostitutes off the street - possible to get help, should they want it. discourages johns.
cons: drives it underground. No protection for prostitutes. criminalizes sex workers. sex trade run by criminals.

decriminalization of sex work - criminalization of buying sex. i.e. not criminal to sell sex. criminal to buy it.
pros: doesn't criminalize desperate women. they're not driven underground. industry isn't normalized or legitimized (this is arguably a con).
cons: ??? I know there are some. I just can't think of any. Please add any you think of.

Another thought. Should prostitution become legal, what protection will there be for strippers who don't want to do it? None, right? People in sex work who aren't actively selling sex acts will likely lose their jobs if they won't "step it up".

Finally, I don't think anything we do is likely to afford sex trade workers any sort of protection against rape or any sort of justice for sex crimes from the law. I mean, given the level of justice women who aren't in the sex trades get, I think it's highly naive to think that any woman, let alone a sex worker, will have a reasonable shot at getting her rapist convicted.

FWIW, I realize there are men on the street too. Just not nearly as many. That's why the language is geared toward women.

13 May 2009

Well Frick

Frick. I knew Campbell would win. I knew STV would lose. I've never been more disappointed to be right. Grr. 4 more years of right-wing bullshit.

OH! That reminds me! I have a story. :)

A few years back, right after Campbell gutted the coverage for physiotherapy and chiropractic services, I was in Wal-Mart, hobbling around on my canes. I was quite disabled, and it was thought to be a chronic, incurable condition. I've since found a miracle that keeps it managed quite well, but that's irrelevant. At the time, I was in agony. I was taking percocet pretty much daily, and that sonofabitch just made it impossible for me to get the treatments I needed to keep my pain at all manageable. I was in one hell of a depression about that, lemme tell ya. I had a week long panic attack after that one was announced. I'm in no pain now, and I'm almost crying remembering what that announcement did to me.

So, I was hobbling around Wal-Mart, in absolute agony, and I saw the bastard. Gordon Fucking Campbell. It took me a few seconds, because my brain was completely addled by pain and drugs. But I stopped. Turned around, took a breath and got ready to blast the premier.

Guy looked right at me, sighed and said, "I'm not him". The poor fucking bastard was a dead ringer. I blinked and said, ever-so-cleverly, "What?" Dude said, with another sigh, "Never mind." And then he just walked away, shaking his head. Poor bastard.

(the label, it's in the time-honoured Boston Red Sox naming convention. Man, I love people with a flair for language!)

12 May 2009

Why I oppose the carbon tax

I'm not a big whiner about taxes. But the carbon tax here in BC is stupid. Remarkably so. So, for the most part, are the supporters of it.

The idea of it was to force consumers to use less gasoline, by making it more expensive. It was supposed to get people to use public transit more, buy more fuel efficient cars, walk, bike, etc.

The reality is that most people, especially poor people, don't have the luxury of buying fuel efficient cars or living close enough to their jobs to walk or bike. Public transit, under the same assholes that instituted the carbon tax, got way more expensive. My husband rides his bike to work (we're lucky to be close enough and for him to be healthy enough to bike 25km a day), but when the weather isn't cooperative, he can't. So we worked it out. At $1/L for gas, it costs FAR more to take the bus. Even with the discount he gets for buying tickets. I know the 'but you have to buy insurance and keep the car maintained' argument, but the fact is, most people do that anyway.

And furthermore, it's not feasible anywhere but in the large cities. And then only ones with good transit. I challenge you to live carless in Calgary for 6 months. Over the winter. Sure, it's *possible*, but so is living on the street. It sucks, and most people won't do it if they have an alternative.

And even if you're lucky enough to live in a city with decent transit, and be on a good route, it's not a reasonable alternative when you have more than one kid. Buses are NOT kid friendly. In fact, in this city, you can be denied access to the bus if you've got a stroller that the driver deems "too big". And that's a one kid stroller. There's no way in hell I could get both of my little kids on the bus at the same time and look after them both safely. One is only 2 months old and needs holding at all times. The other is 3, autistic, and a holy handful.

My 14 year old daughter uses public transit to get to and from school. It blows. It's great in the morning, for the commuters. But after school, there are only buses ever 15 minutes, and they are so crammed full, she usually can't sit down, and is regularly pushed around. This is a bloody annoyance for most people, and most wouldn't put up with it. Public transit SUCKS.

Finally, the carbon tax is not fair to farmers. There are no gas saving alternatives to combines. Cutting down on usage cuts down on profits. The carbon tax took a bite out of their incomes. A bite they couldn't possibly avoid.

One last thing: is there any evidence that fuel usage has dropped since the carbon tax was introduced? I'm looking for any evidence at all.

The carbon tax is a regressive tax.

10 May 2009

Stimulating questions

In all the bailouts, in all the handouts to companies going broke, and stimulus packages/budgets something occurs to me. It's not the obvious "where are the bailouts to the people losing their homes?", but something else. Our priorities suck. Where was this money when people were asking for funding for the homeless? Where was this money when women's shelters had to shut down? Where was this money for legal aid (40% cut in BC since Campbell got in)? Where was this money when people were dying in the hallways at emergency wards? Where was this money then?

It just goes to show that government doesn't give a shit about people. They only care about money.

09 May 2009

Brilliance, copied. Ep 2

You know the age old question "why do women dress to show off their cleavage if they get annoyed when men look?" Well, I saw a brilliant answer to it today, and am reposting it (with permission).

Imagine this: you've just bought a new car (or truck - but I'm into cars a lot more than trucks). You like it; it's still got that showroom shine, it's one of the most badass cars in the world for some version of the world badass that makes you feel *really* good about this car.

You want people to look at it. And you want people to see it's *your* car. Not in a nasty, show-offish way, but in a proud owner sort of way. "Yes, I saw this and helped bring it out into the world."

And most of the time, you see people looking at it, and they'll give you a thumbs up or a look of appreciation, and you like it.

Then you see a guy with a slim jim under one arm, and a couple other tools looking at it like "hmm... what chop shop would want this? Or could I just get it a couple hundred miles away and sell it straight?"

You happen to be walking in his direction, and you hear him talking to someone about how there's going to be money "tonight if that dumbass sailor doesn't... oh, yeah, the *game* tonight," and the conversation changes topic as you get close.

And you start to realize it's a dangerous world, sometimes, to own a car like this. Suddenly, just because you have a nice car, you feel like a bit of a target, and it's no longer quite as much of a joy as it is a source of pain.

Oh, in time, you'll relax a bit, and feel a bit more happiness. But you might never feel the same kind of happiness you had before that asshole demonstrated to you that you're never quite safe if there's someone out there who wants what you have.

But in the meantime, every appreciative look, every thumbs up, every sign of people just loving that car reminds you that there's people out there who won't care how badly they hurt you, so long as they get what they want.

How absolutely perfect is that? That is a man who gets it

07 May 2009

Leadership, elections, and other things that make me cry

Sheesh, it's been a week since I posted anything. Ridiculous. I've sat down a number of times to blog, and been faced with a combination of apathy, hopelessness and writer's block. So now I'm at work, and I'm procrastinating, because someone gave me a stinker of a document I have to go through and format. Blech. Seriously, who uses spaces to indent?! Anyway...

The provincial election here in BC has started. I voted this morning here at work (that's another issue... I work in a building being used as a polling place. it's a zoo!). Got my "I Voted" waste of money sticker and everything.

Obviously, I didn't vote for Gordon SCampbell and his crew of assholes. I didn't love voting for the NDP, because there's something about Carole James that makes me want to slap her - I call it the politician vibe. But I did. I sucked it up and voted for her team.

So I was bitching about our choices to my husband, and he said, "Well, what do you want?" Honestly, I want a real Christian. Not a "Christian" OMGNOABORTIONS! or GAY MARRIAGE IS DESTROYING OUR MORAL FIBRE! shriek harpy, but someone who is actually thoughtful, compassionate and reasonable. (Yes, I know, they wouldn't need to be Christian to be these things). What is a good leader anyway? A shepherd? Not really. At least not in the classic sense of the shepherd leading the stupid sheep to the slaughter. Frankly, if you're looking for a shepherd for a leader you deserve to get fleeced. And that goes for a religious leader too.

Remember when Sarah Palin was mocking Barack Obama for being a community organizer (which seemed to me me to be a dog whistle)? I kept thinking, but that's what I want! I want a community organizer. Someone who sees the problems in his or her community, and organizes the people who also see those problems in a way that helps them fix the problems. Like Jesus, I suppose. Though I am not one of those Obamaites who treats him like the second coming of Christ (and OMG but that sounds WRONG - but alas, I have a dirty, filthy mind). But Jesus, he was a community organizer. He got his buddies together, got them to get a few people together, and collectively, they told the establishment to fuck off. Now, look where that got him, right? But really, look what it did for his cause! Not that a person should have to martyr himself for his cause, especially in this day and age, but his leadership style, his honesty and refusal to compromise his integrity, that is what I want. At least, that's what I want people to be inspired by. I'm not stupid enough to think anyone can be God. :)

Unfortunately, our system seems to weed these people out rather quickly. Dion seemed promising to me. I mean, he wasn't perfect, GOD NO, but he was promising. He had a vision and he stuck with it. And he got eaten alive for it. And unlike Jesus, his cause didn't get a boost from it. We're too cynical for that these days, it seems.

I think that's partially why I voted yes for STV. Single Transferable Vote would allow a more representative government, and, more importantly, it would allow more than one candidate of a particular party to run in a given riding. That way, if I see that Butthead is running for the party I'm voting for, I can avoid voting for him and vote for Beavis instead. Without having to vote for a party that won't represent my views at all. I like that. Also, Beavis won't get spewed out by the nomination process if he's got some unorthodox ideas because the party just wants to win that one seat. Or am I being naive again? :)

Anyway, I've got a document to format. And work can only wait so long.